What’s on the table tonight in the Harrisite community?

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By Kassidy De Nobrega, Alexis Dixon, Jin Hu

Today, while people across the country are sure to have some turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce at the table, some prefer less quintessential dishes. Cultural traditions and personal indulgences play a part in what people will prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Thanksgiving. We spoke to Harrisites about what makes their family’s Thanksgiving dinner unique.

For most, some of their non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes stem from their own culture’s cuisine. Senior Ashley Cholula said, “My family cooks Tamales which consists of flour, spices, chicken, cheese and hot sauce. It’s a great Mexican dish, and it is usually made for Christmas.”

Senior Zakaria Ali said, “We usually cook chicken curry, and it’s a Bengali dish. I’m thankful for beef with curry sauce.” 

In some families, their cultural dishes replace iconic Thanksgiving staples. 

Sophomore Isabella Sam said, “My family eats pork instead of turkey. We eat a whole pig and just set it on the table. We eat chicken and duck as well…basically all meats except turkey.”

Guidance Secretary Angela Diaz said, “We have coquito, a coconut drink but for food, it would be rice and peas. It came from Puerto Rico.”

English/ISS teacher Kevin Schwab said, “My grandma Elsie makes ziti, which was odd because it didn’t fit with the turkey and other traditional foods for Thanksgiving. With my grandma, she wanted to bring her Italian background into the table.” 

Art teacher Margherita Wischerth said, “I’m most thankful for the polish foods that I get from the Polish deli.”

However, some enjoy conventional dishes that have satisfied their palate for years. English teacher Ryan Dunbar said, “I am so cliche, I don’t think I can stray from it. But, my wife’s family never put gravy on their turkey, weird, right? So they brought me a can of gravy for the next Thanksgiving.”

Though these dishes are not all necessarily what you see in the Norman Rockwell renditions of Thanksgiving dinners, incorporating your family’s culture into this familial North American holiday is something that makes this day all the more meaningful.